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All upcoming Philosophy & Religion programs

All upcoming Philosophy & Religion programs

Programs 1 to 10 of 15
Monday, August 5, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In 1943, the people of Denmark—led by King Christian X—dared to stand up for their Jewish citizens in one of the largest actions of collective resistance to aggression in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. To keep the population of 8,200 Jews safe from arrest and deportation, the Danes hid, protected, and then smuggled most of them out of the country. Historian Ralph Nurnberger recounts this extraordinary act of courage on the part of a nation.


Wednesday, August 7, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Borgias—a family synonymous with murder, rape, incest, and torture—have been immortalized by historians, authors, and a pair of dueling series on Showtime and Sky. But was it all sex, simony, and scandal? Art historian Elizabeth Lev examines their political aspirations, religious conflicts, fascinating artistic commissions—which, despite their extraordinary beauty, could not redeem the family's reputation—and the surprising epilogue to the clan’s inevitable downfall.


Thursday, August 15, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

As the chief persecutor of believers in Jesus as the Messiah, Saul of Tarsus seemed the most unlikely candidate to become the lynchpin in establishing the early days of Christianity. But as the apostle Paul, he and his associates spread and shaped the emerging theology and began to attract gentiles, or pagans, as well. Ori Z. Soltes, a professor of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University, examines this remarkable transformation against the backdrop of the pagan, Greek, Roman, and Judaean worlds in which he lived and worked.


Thursday, August 22, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

During the reign of Justinian, the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, empire reached its largest extent since the last Western Roman emperor was deposed in 476. In addition, Justinian and his wife, Theodora, oversaw reforms that laid the foundation for later Western law and saw the construction of the magnificent church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Yet his attempts to impose religious unity failed, and his wars caused widespread devastation. Historian David Gwynn explores contradictory assessments of Justinian, both historical and modern.


Tuesday, August 27, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the late 1940s and early 1950s forever changed the study of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Gary Rendsburg describes the discovery of these precious fragments, what we know about their origins, the controversies surrounding them, and their influence on the development of both ancient Judaism and early Christianity.


Wednesday, August 28, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The convent of San Marco, transformed into a museum in the 19th century, houses one of Florence’s most spectacular collections of sacred art. Decorated with frescoes by the painter and friar Fra Angelico and once home to the fiery preacher Girolamo Savonarola, the building offers a sense of religious life in the city during the 15th century. Renaissance art expert Rocky Ruggiero delves into the art and history of the museum. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Wednesday, September 11, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement ended a 30-year period of violence in the north of Ireland known as “the Troubles,” but the difficult legacy of that era still overshadows politics in Ireland north and south to this day. Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the origins of the Troubles as well as the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and the prospects for Irish unity now that the United Kingdom’s territory has its first-ever nationalist first minister.


Thursday, September 19, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

How could a lowly Florentine preacher almost singlehandedly overthrow the mighty Medici family at the height of the Italian Renaissance and unleash the Bonfire of Vanities that consigned priceless paintings, books, and jewelry to flames? Historian Janna Bianchini tells the story of the impassioned Girolamo Savonarola’s unexpected rise; his domination of the city as the head of a ruthless theocracy; and his meteoric fall.


Saturday, September 21, 2024 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Two centuries of archaeological excavation and exploration have revealed that ancient Israel’s neighbors—Egypt, Canaan, Aram, Assyria, and Babylonia—all contributed significantly to its history, from its origins through the Babylonian exile and beyond. Biblical narratives reflect connections to these ancient cultures. In an illustrated all-day program, biblical scholar Gary Rendsburg explores how the people who left us the Bible were informed by other civilizations and how these influences are reflected in its books.


Tuesday, September 24, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

During an era of widespread secular and religious reform initiatives from the late-18th through the early-20th centuries, the Shakers sought to embody a purity of life, re-make human relations, and fulfill a utopian vision of a “New Heaven and a New Earth.” William Dinges, professor emeritus of religious studies at The Catholic University of America, examines the origins of the movement; its theological worldview; and the social, cultural, and historical factors that both contributed to the Shakers’ longevity and led to their demise.